If you haven’t read ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert B Cialdini, I suggest you run out and get it right away before your competitors beat you to it. And right there I used one of Robert’s 6 methods of influence: Scarcity, aka FOMO.

In this post we’re going to take you through his 6 principles and show you how you can use them to inspire your video content.

Influence - Authority 1 AUTHORITY

When you work in a specific field or sector, it’s wise to know everything you can about it so you can label yourself as the ‘expert’, ‘specialist’, or indeed ‘authority’, if you will. As an authority you become the go-to person for everything related to that subject.

Tip: it helps if you work in a niche. It’s hard to be an authority on absolutely everything – although I’m sure we all know someone who is ;-).

You can use video to not only demonstrate your authority once you become one, but also to help you establish yourself as one. Use the following videos to show viewers just how clever you are:

How-to videos

Explainer videos

Review videos

Endorsement videos

Keep your videos short and succinct without waffle. A confident, concise delivery helps to show viewers you know what you’re talking about without overloading them with information. Beware the curse of the expert – as an authority on a subject, we can often assume people know what we know, so don’t fall into that trap. Explain complex information in simple terms and avoid jargon.  

Remember, it’s not just what you say that makes people believe and trust you, it’s also what you wear, your body language and what’s in the background of your shots. Think about all the non-verbal ways you can reinforce your authority in your videos.

Influence - Likeability2  LIKEABILITY

It’s a lot easier to get people to part with their cash if they like you, and they’ll often pay more to work with someone they like even if they know they can get a similar thing cheaper elsewhere.

The first step to getting someone to like you is to understand them. If you know who your audience is, you can speak to them in ways that resonate with them – and only them. If people feel listened to and understood, they’ll be more inclined to get to know you better too.

Use the following videos to encourage likability:

Team videos


Behind the scenes

Company culture

When presenting your videos, smile and use open body language. Use neutral language, not words that may cause offence or make your viewers feel patronised. Use humour if you feel you can pull it off; not everyone if a natural comedian so don’t force it if it doesn’t come naturally.

The most important thing is to be yourself. An authentic delivery will make viewers feel comfortable. If you’re trying to copy someone else’s style and it doesn’t suit you, your viewers will run for the hills.

Influence - Reciprocity3 RECIPROCITY

Do a good deed for someone and they’ll be more inclined to do one for you in return, or so this principle suggests. In social media land, it’s been said that you should work on the 4:1 ratio of give versus take, so four out of every five pieces of content should be giving something away for ‘free’. The fifth should be a sales post – afterall, you’re not in business just for the warm glow.

Video is a great way to give information away for ‘free’, or to publicise a free download or event. Here are a few suggestions of videos to encourage reciprocity:

Hints and tips videos

How-to videos

Explainer videos

Review videos

Event videos

The trick to these types of videos is to not give too much away. The idea is you want viewers to come back to you for more, preferably as a customer. Keep your videos brief and to the point. Give something of value but leave viewers wanting more.

Influence - Consistency4 CONSISTENCY

This principle works both ways – for you and for your customer. From your point of view it’s helpful if your customers know what they’re getting from you, and you deliver it consistently. It’s fine to introduce new products and services, but if you throw in a massive curveball you risk alienating a proportion of your customers.

For your customers, if they have publicly declared a loyalty to your brand, it’s harder for them to switch loyalties without a little reputational damage.

So there are several ways you can use video to encourage consistency:

Product & Service videos

Weekly video newsletters

Regular video messages

Testimonial videos

Endorsement videos

To promote consistency, try to make your videos in a similar style. For example, film in the same place, use the same font and colours in any text you add, start with the same phrase, or make them the same length.

Influence - Social Proof5 SOCIAL PROOF

A bit of keeping up with the Joneses never hurt anyone. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you. Asking happy customers or supporters to endorse your brand can bring more business than simply asking for customers yourself.

Take the Meghan effect for instance. She’s photographed wearing a particular dress or coat and the designer’s website crashes in minutes. Whilst you may not be fortunate enough to get an endorsement from the Windsors, you do have plenty of happy customers who could sing your praises.

Here are a few types of videos you can make to promote social proof:

Customer testimonials

Case study videos

Endorsement videos by partners or thought leaders

Influence - Scarcity6 SCARCITY

Play on your viewers’ fear of missing out. A common way of doing this is to run limited period offers or competitions. This can be done through video just as it can through other forms of content

Speaking of which, to celebrate the fact that we’re now selling our book on Amazon, you can get it for 7 days from today at HALF PRICE! That’s just £10 down from the usual price of £20.


Written by Ruth Duggal

Ruth is co-owner of Make Your Own Video Training Academy and co-author of Make Your Own Videos